Guest Author: This week’s blog was provided by Nina Hiatt, a freelance writer who researches and creates articles on a variety of topics – including news and technology. You can learn more by visiting her Google+ profile by clicking here.
Sorting through all the available web hosting services takes time and presents an overwhelming number of options. Wouldn’t it just be easier (and cheaper) to host the site yourself? Here are some pros and cons to help your company decide:
Hardware Control. The biggest benefit of hosting your website in house is that you have complete controlover the entire process. You control the hardware specifications, which means you can utilize hardware combinations that datacenters may not offer.
Web hosting providers usually have different sizes and speeds of processors, memory, storage, and bandwidth. Usually when you want more storage, you have to pay for a faster processor and more bandwidth as well.
However, certain websites may benefit from having large memory and a slower processor, or a fast processor and little storage. If you are hosting your own site, you can make decisions as to how fast, slow, big, or small your equipment is. Your company can also save money by not paying for services you don’t need for your site.
Money Savings. Any time you decide to provide a service on your own, you will be saving money. There’s no need to stress over paying bills or worrying about what products you have access to with your subscription package.
Software Control. Self-hosting a site also gives you control over the software you use and what features you put on your company website. If you use a free hosting service, like WordPress or BlogSpot, you may not have access to all the features you’d like your website to have. Even a paid hosting service may not offer what you are looking for, like chat capabilities or ecommerce.
Making Changes. Any changes, updates, or modifications can be made quickly and easily. You don’t have to go through a technical staff. If you make any changes you don’t like, you can immediately reset everything to its original state.
Instant Satisfaction. If you want to make changes to your server or your site, you can make the changes instantly. There is no waiting period between communicating your desires to the web hosting company, and seeing the changes on your site.
Complete Responsibility. Along with complete control comes complete responsibility. You’re company can decide what hardware to use, but you have to actually know how to use it. If anything breaks down, it is up to you to figure out the problem and find a solution.
24/7 Duty. You are also responsible for monitoring your site at all times. If your server goes down, nobody is going to alert you that there is an issue. You not only have to fix all issues, but you have to be able to detect them as well.
Web Providers. Another potential roadblock you may run in to with web hosting is that many web providers don’t allow their users to host their own. Some of them explicitly forbid it in their contracts or they block the ports needed for hosting. Still others may dramatically increase their prices for any subscribers who want to run a server.
Even if your broadband connection does allow you to connect your own server, it probably won’t be as quick or as reliable as you will need for your site. Any downtime your web provider experiences will affect your server and your site.
Heat and Noise. Housing all the necessary hardware for a website server means you will have some loud equipment in your office. Servers generate a lot of heat, and the sound of the fans mixed with the sound of the processor will create a constant hum. The more traffic your site gets, the harder your server will have to work, and the hotter it will be. You may have to use additional cooling devices in the room where you house all of the equipment.
Takes more Time. . Letting someone host your site for you—called “managed cloud hosting” or “managed web hosting,” depending on which you choose—means that you don’t have to spend time worrying about or fixing any issues that come up. You can just sit back and work on the content of your site. When you host your own site, you will have less time to spend on the site itself.
Some Final Words of Advice
If you decide to host your site on your own, make sure you have all the technical knowledge you will need to manage the hardware and software. If you opt for managed web hosting, shop around and find the service provider that will best meet your needs. Hosting companies will usually show a comparison of their different packages. You can see examples of different packages on sites like VI.net, or you can read articles on sites like lifehacker.com that talk about the top web hosting companies and what they offer.